To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend; but he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.…
Job's friends come to condole with him. They are staggered by the severity of his sufferings, and remain silenced before him. When they open their lips they seem not only to try to account for the affliction, but they also appear to be anxious to justify their own inability to comfort their suffering friend. Their words add to Job's heavy affliction instead of lightening his burden, and he cries out in his bitterness, "To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend." To whom should the suffering one turn if not to end? We see at once, in such circumstances, a friend's duty and a friend's demand.
I. A FRIEND'S DUTY.
1. The true office of friendship is to enter fully into the circumstances of the friend; not to be indifferent to them, and therefore ignorant. True affection will inquire gently, wisely, and with care into the state, and the need, and the sorrow, and the hopes of the object of its attachment. Not for meddlesome curiosity, but from loving interest the friend's heart will open to take in the tale of sorrow, even the words of complaint.
2. True friendship will lovingly sympathize. The eager pleading of the casual beggar strikes upon the closed ear of the stranger. No chord of pitiful sympathy vibrates, and no hand of help is outstretched. But to the appeals of friendship the heart opens; warm sympathy is stirred. The fluttering spirit finds rest on the besom of a friend. It is a duty one friend owes to another to show the utmost pitifulness of spirit - a pitifulness that should ripen to loving sympathy. No hardening of the heart, no refusal to be patient, no selfishness, can be found in the breast of the true friend.
3. True friendship will be ready with its help, springing forth with spontaneous eagerness to aid and comfort. It is possible for the friend to stick closer than a brother; and he shows the true spirit of a friend who, feeling perfectly at one with his loved companion, renders willing help to him.
4. The friendship which stimulates to pitiful and loving help in need rejoices also in the joy, the prosperity, and well-being of him to whom it cleaves. The two lives are one. David and Jonathan illustrate this, and happily a thousand examples are around us daily. He that findeth a true friend findeth a precious possession - a prize whose worth cannot be estimated.
II. FOR THIS LOVING SYMPATHY AND PITIFUL HELPFULNESS EVERY ONE MAY MAKE HIS JUST AND REASONABLE DEMAND ON HIS FRIEND. Friendship has its duties of fidelity, of kindness, and help; of confidence, trust, and good will. It has also its claims. It is a silent, mutual compact - each preparing to give that which it demands of the other; each expecting that which it knows it can bestow. It is the supreme satisfaction of true friendship that either of its members may turn to other in the confident, unquestioning assurance of meeting with true sympathy, with an open hand and a warm heart. For this friendship looks, and this it is justified in expecting. A faithful friend's love faileth not; for "a friend loveth always." Even his very "wounds" are "faithful." Happy he who has found a friend in whom he can place the whole faith of his heart; and who is ready to reciprocate the same full, thorough, and trustworthy affection!
1. The wisdom of seeking a friend.
2. The law: "He that would have friends must show himself friendly." - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.